Monday, March 28, 2011

Frugal Feeding of the Family

Do you think it's getting harder and harder to keep your food costs within your monthly budget?  I sure do!  Lately I have been feeling like the grocery bill is growing out of control, and that, combined with the higher cost of gas has made me want to take another look at exactly where we can cut costs and save a little more. 

Just yesterday I read an article in our Sunday paper (Chattanooga Times Free Press) on the sharp rise in grocery prices and it really got me thinking.  I knew the price of food had been going up and up.  I can feel the sting each time I grocery shop!  Here are some specifics from the article that are real eye openers.....  In January, chicken legs were $1.26 a pound, in February they were 30 cents more.  A pound of iceberg lettuce increased from $1.02 to $1.13.  Last February the same lettuce cost 89 cents.  A pound of bacon was $3.40 last February (2010) and last month it was $4.27.  February had the largest monthly increase in average food costs in 2 1/2 years, with costs rising for most major groups including meat, dairy products, eggs, fruits and vegetables, according to the Consumer Price Index released in March.  The price of some items, such as tomatoes, lettuce, and some meats increased more than 10 percent!  Apparently there is no relief in sight - the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts food prices will increase 3 to 4 percent this year.  Moderation is expected soon on the prices of fruits and vegetables but meat prices and average grocery prices are likely to continue climbing.

The largest expense on our monthly budget is food.  It's also one of the only areas where we can change how much we are spending (up or down).  Most of the monthly expenses are fixed.  The food budget however can be tweaked and that's what I'm interested in doing.  As workers at home it is our job to serve healthy, delicious meals to our families while being mindful of how much we are spending.  This is not always an easy job, especially for a family with lots of growing children!  How can we best use our food budget and take good care of our families?

I'm looking for your most frugal meal recipe!  Would you be willing to share?  If so, email me at  or leave a comment here and I will do a guest post soon with the recipes and a link to your blog if you would like.  We need healthy, frugal recipes that we can feed our families while spending less at the grocery store.  Please share!


  1. I don't know if your family likes tuna, but an easy inexpensive recipe that we like is Tuna Melts. One can of tuna made up into tuna salad with mayo makes 3 or 4 melts, depending on how thick you like your tuna. You'll need 3 or 4 English muffins, can of tuna, mayo to mix in your tuna, American cheese slice. mix up your tuna with mayo, spitting your English muffin in half, spread tuna on halved muffins, place a slice or half slice of cheese, place in a 350 degree oven, bake until cheese is melted and a bit brown. serve warm.

  2. Great post! Thank you.

    We have a family of eight and currently we are spending $700-750 a month on groceries. It is getting harder and harder to keep that budget as the food prices climb.

    I do lots of casseroles to stretch my meat. I'm starting to use cheaper grains like rice instead of noodles in the casseroles and also my soups.

    Doing soup once a week is a huge savings. Put very little meat in it and leftovers from the week. You can get so creative you'll even surprise yourself. A good soup just needs to be salty enough and have a rich broth. My children don't like soup that much, but they love the homemade rolls that come with it.

    I no longer buy bread, but instead purchased a bread machine at a thrift store. I make several loaves a week.

    Snacks are what seem to kill us on our budget. I am now making bread and letting them have a slice with homemade jam for dessert or a healthy snack. Popcorn is a cheap snack as well.

    I am trying to look at bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms as luxery items. It is going to be a treat if we purchase them.

    Growing things in my own garden will help the food bill a bit as well. Veggies are getting more and more expense (lettuce, cucumbers and carrots have all gone up). So I will be focusing on growing these types of veggies this year.

    I have lots of recipes on my blog and tips for saving money if you look under the label's section. I think it would be under the label of "Tips for Large Families" and "Recipes".

    Wow that got long! Sorry, but you asked! LOL!

  3. My families biggest expense is definitely food as well. Thanks for some great tips! I would love for you to link this up at my linky Homemaking Party

  4. There is SO much that can be done with a small amount of meat. using 4-5 chicken drumsticks with barley and rice will make a HUGE pot of soup to feed a hungry family. There is also alot to be done with beans and rice (by itself, fried, or vegetarian enchiladas). Beans and rice is the best way i know to stretch your bucks!

  5. I have been posting about this lately on my blog. I agree that beans and rice is a great way to go...I try to do that once a week.

    I also cook whole chickens often, and get at least 2 meals out of them:

    I make soup once a week also:

  6. Beans and rice are awesome... I could eat them every day... my family not so much. I never buy cans of beans anymore- I have read/heard that aluminum cans can have BPA in them so I try to avoid them anyways. So I buy the bags of beans that cost next to nothing & I will make a huge pot full. My beans taste amazing & they pop in your mouth & you taste tons of flavor. I usually do the fast cooking method & just follow the directions but I use broth to quick boil them. After I rinse them I add more broth (the cubes or granules are what I use) and usually a little lemon/lime juice & some herbs (whatever you think you will be using them for). I try to make alot so I don't have to make them every single time we need beans. After they are cooked I put them in freezer bags & fold the freezer bag into sections so that when I want to only use some of them I can without having to use a million bags, which really adds up in costs too! I do that for meat & everything else I put in the freezer! Thanks for your blog!

  7. You took the words right out of my mouth! I cringe every time grocery day approaches. As suggested above, I am trying is soup. I make home made soup for lunches almost every day. I use left overs (meat and veggies) for many of them. If I make a big batch of soup and most of the meat gets eaten by my carnivorous husband and son I throw the left over broth in a freezer bag and freeze to add to the next soup. After serving a chicken dinner I pull as much meat as I can off the bones and use the carcass to make a flavorful broth. Veggies that are starting to turn get chopped up and sauted and souped up. And my biggest learning curve so far is couponing. I'm up in Canada, and very few stores near me will honor coupon stacking and I don't know of any stores that have coupon events, like double your coupon days etc. I have found one place that does this, but it does not carry fresh produce or meats. I plan to try to get as many house hold products for free by getting a group of friends together to work on coupon stacking. I'm sure you know more about this than I do, I'm just learning, but it might be a good thing to post about if you have some wisdom to share on this subject.



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